Invitation to Transformation: Embracing Stillness
Annie Carpenter shares her wisdom on finding transformation through stillness in her yoga practice.
Ann Pizer |
We all know that for some, Savasana can be the hardest posture of any yoga class. The ability to find total stillness for so many of us can be extremely challenging, especially in our fast moving and busy lives. But remember, you are not alone!
The wonderful Annie Carpenter shares her experience of finding transformation through stillness.
“Lately (the last 10 or 12 years), in my Asana practice I’ve been choosing poses that I can hold — in stillness — for longer periods of time. They may even be easy poses, rather than the fun, more challenging ones. In fact there are just a few that I can hold for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. Of course there are supported restorative poses—and yes, I love those too. But in my heart of hearts, it is Sarvangasana, shoulder-stand, and Sirsasana, head-stand, that really are my loves.
I have had a love-hate relationship with stillness my whole Yogic life. I love to move! The 5 breaths in (and out!) of poses a la Astanga Yoga, the vinyasa (movement with the breath) of flow and even the art of adjusting and aligning the body just so in the alignment practices, have enraptured and sharpened my attention for many years.
And so the fascination with stillness continues to surprise me, even as it delights. In the stillness of the body, I am engulfed with the movements of the mind. These vritti (mental movements) can be joyous or sad, helpful or frustrating, soft or maddeningly loud. Some days they swarm like angry bees who have lost their queen; others they calm and settle and my drishti (gaze) rests in effortless awareness of both outer and inner in steady poise.
For me, stillness summons an ever subtler awareness of what is—including all the little urges to fidget and fix, and wishing and regretting — and the possibility of allowing, and releasing. Of Let; and its necessary partner, Go. And in the gap that follows: Peace.
For 2017— In the context and inspiration of Liforme’s “Live for More” – may we find joy in stillness and embrace this simple mantra: “Let. Go.” and trust that peace will follow.”
Annie Carpenter is the founder of SmartFLOW Yoga and has more than two decades of yoga teaching experience. Widely regarded as a ‘teacher’s teacher’, Annie lives and teaches in San Francisco, California.
Find out more about Annie at http://anniecarpenter.com/
Photo thanks: Allyson Pfeifer